Simulation and Game Institute Opens

Posted: March 28, 2014 at 5:00 am, Last Updated: April 7, 2014 at 6:57 am

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By Preston Williams

(L to R) Kelly Ballweber, Vice President-US, LeaseWeb USA Inc., W.S. Wally Covington, III, Brentsville District Supervisor, Prince William County Board of Supervisors, Hon. Karen Jackson, Secretary of Technology, Commonwealth of Virginia, Ángel Cabrera, President, George Mason University, Corey A. Stewart, Chairman, Prince William County Board of Supervisors,  Scott M. Martin, Founding Director, Computer Game Design Program, Simulation and Game Institute, George Mason University, Annie Burriss, Chief Executive Officer, Prince William Campus, George Mason University, Maureen S. Caddigan, Potomac District Supervisor, Prince William County Board of County Supervisors, Rich Anderson, 51st District Delegate, Virginia House of Delegates, and Jeffrey Kaczmarek, Executive Director, Prince William County Department of Economic Development, cut the ribbon at the Simulation Game Institute Ribbon Cutting Ceremony. Photo by Evan Cantwell

Karen Jackson, secretary of technology for the Commonwealth of Virginia, and Ángel Cabrera, president of George Mason University, at center above, led the ribbon cutting on March 27 for the new Simulation and Game Institute at George Mason’s Prince William Campus. Others pictured, from left, are: Kelly Ballweber, vice president-US, LeaseWeb USA Inc.; W.S. Wally Covington III, Brentsville District Supervisor, Prince William Board of County Supervisors; Jackson; Cabrera; Corey A. Stewart, chairman, Prince William Board of County Supervisors; Scott M. Martin, founding director, Computer Game Design Program, Simulation and Game Institute, Mason; Annie Burriss, chief executive officer, Prince William Campus, Mason; Maureen S. Caddigan, Potomac District Supervisor, Prince William Board of County Supervisors; Rich Anderson, 51st District Delegate, Virginia; and Jeffrey Kaczmarek, executive director, Prince William County Department of Economic Development. Photo by Evan Cantwell

George Mason University and Prince William County announced a game-changing partnership on March 27 when they officially opened the Simulation and Game Institute (SGI).

SGI, a hub for applied research, business education and economic development, will be one of only four international affiliates of the Serious Games Institute, based at Coventry University in England. The opening of the new facility is another example of the global reach of George Mason’s technological innovation. The other SGI affiliates are in Singapore, South America and Mexico.

Mason and Prince William County officials, joined by dignitaries in state government, education and business, teamed up for a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the Mason Enterprise Center at the Prince William Campus to formally launch their partnership.

Mason President Ángel Cabrera and Virginia Secretary of Technology Karen Jackson were among the guest speakers, along with Scott Martin, director of SGI and the Computer Game Design Program at Mason.

Students attend a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Simulation and Game Institute at the Prince William campus.

Bruxe Studios employees discuss their work at the opening ceremony for the Simulation and Game Institute. Bruxe and four other businesses have already been selected to receive business assistance services through the Mason Enterprise Center and the Prince William County Department of Economic Development. Photo by Evan Cantwell

“In the innovation economy, ‘high-value industries of the mind’ are creating the well-paid jobs of the future,” said Annie Hunt Burriss, chief executive officer of the Prince William Campus. “Together, George Mason University and Prince William County, with our community partners, are creating a great new industry and jobs that Americans want.”

The Mason Enterprise Center will house SGI as a crucial component of the Computer Game Design Program in Mason’s College of Visual and Performing Arts. The simulation, modeling and game industry is an $80 billion business estimated to be growing by about 7 percent annually, Prince William officials say.

“SGI is an outstanding example of how technology-based collaborations can be leveraged to create economic opportunities and jobs,” Jackson said. “I am pleased to have this program as a part of the commonwealth’s growing modeling and simulation portfolio.”

The new facility, part of Innovation Park, the largest research business park in Northern Virginia, will offer cutting-edge game design research and development, simulation and game training and certification, visualization and simulation software development and rapid prototyping. The facility will also provide offices, studios, research space and a product development lab for individuals, entrepreneurs and companies in the field of simulation, modeling and game design.

In addition, the space will offer access to leading commercialization and marketing channels, student development talent, research faculty, industry experts, mentors, business counseling support and the potential of financial investment from foundations and equity partners.

Emerging companies chosen to reside in SGI will receive business assistance services through the Mason Enterprise Center and the Prince William County Department of Economic Development.

The five emerging businesses already accepted into the institute are Bruxe Studios, Little Arms Studios, Zaah on Campus LLC, ProfessionsQuest and MediaShock LLC.

Write to Preston Williams at pwilli20@gmu.edu

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